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Bataan Death March Memorial.

Bataan Death March Statue and Walkway

Field review by the editors.

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Bataan, a jungle peninsula on the island of Luzon, was a place where cornered Allied troops fought a last ditch action and surrendered after the Japanese invaded the Philippines. The 78,000 Americans and Filipinos were forced by their captors to walk 65 miles toward prison camps set up in the north. The hellish "Bataan Death March" of March 1942 claimed 11,000 lives from sickness, thirst, and summary executions by bayonet.

The infamous Death March is memorialized in a veterans park in Las Cruces with three larger-than-life bronze statues by sculptor Kelley S. Hestir. Two soldiers assist a third, collapsing comrade; the implication is he probably won't survive the ordeal. According to a sign, more New Mexicans were POWs of the Japanese "per capita" than any other state. The footprints of 38 soldiers "made from the feet of those who survived" create a path in the cement in front of the marchers.

Every year since 1989, a marathon run Bataan Memorial Death March is conducted through the high desert at nearby White Sands Missile Range.

Bataan Death March Statue and Walkway

Veteran's Park

1721 N. Roadrunner Pkwy, Las Cruces, NM
Midway between I-25 exits 3 and 6. Exit at either, drive a half-mile east, then turn left (from 3) or right (from 6) onto Roadrunner Pkwy. Veteran's Park will be 1.5 miles along the road, on the west side.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Toth-Carved Big Indian HeadToth-Carved Big Indian Head, Las Cruces, NM - 2 mi.
Pat Garrett Killed HerePat Garrett Killed Here, Las Cruces, NM - 3 mi.
Pat Garrett Murder Site SignPat Garrett Murder Site Sign, Las Cruces, NM - 3 mi.
In the region:
Big Daddy - Armless Muffler Man, Las Cruces, NM - 4 mi.

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